AP Art History Monet

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Impressionism Monet
1839           Daguerreotype presented
1848           Communist Manifesto
1848-52     Revolution in Europe
1859           Charles Darwin publishes Origin of Species
1863            Salon of Refusals
1861-65     American Civil War
1891           First movie camera patented
1884           1st Salon des Artistes Independants (Salon of Independents)
1886           8th and last Impressionist exhibition
1900           Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams
1903           First flight of the Wright brothers
1905-15     Albert Einstein's Theory of Relativity
1914-18     World War I

MONET, Claude  Impression, Sunrise 1872 Paris, Marmottan
Iconography: The entire goal of impressionism was capture light in a moment of time. This work is trying to capture a moment in nature, where the light strikes the water. It also sparked the name for the movement, according to Stokstad, when a journalist wrote a scathing review of the work done by Monet and his contemporaries he used the title of it to label them all impressionists. They loved the idea and decided to keep that title and philosophy of painting. This work is different from what one would normally think of when picturing of an Impressionist work, it is not bright and filled with sunlight or exuberant scenes, but seems to invoke a sense of quiet, and peaceful reflection.
Context: The Impressionists were the 'rogue' artists of their time. Always rejected by the fashionable Salon of Paris, they would form their own shows and exhibit the work they deemed worthy.

Monet, Claude Rouen Cathedral 
(Dawn) 1894

Monet, Claude Rouen Cathedral 
(Dull Dawn) 1894

Monet, Claude Rouen Cathedral 
(Harmony in Blue) 1894

Monet, Claude Rouen Cathedral 
(Harmony in Full Sunlight)1894
Form: Impressionist paintings, views of the same cathedral done at different times of day. The palette changes to accommodate the shifting light. This is a perfect example of how extensive knowledge of color helps in the creation of a successful painting.One of the interesting things about these images is that almost every one of them expresses what's called an analogous color scheme.  An analogous color scheme is when every color in the painting has a common color mixed into it.  For instance, in the top two images, every color Monet used was mixed with some kind of blue.
The bottom left has orange as its analogous scheme while "Harmony in Full Sunlight" is a full spectrum inmage and the color scheme is not analogous.
Iconography: Monet stood outside this cathedral for days on end to capture it in the different light qualities of a passing day. It shows how facile Monet was in his use of color to accurately represent light and shadow. One can clearly identify what phase of day it is by his use of complementary and analogous color schemes. According to the Getty museum, "With Rouen cathedral the artist, for the first and only time, concentrated on another work of art—one whose permanent, enduring structure would suggest a texture analogous to his own brushstrokes. His task was hardly easy: to keep the views constant Monet worked from only three improvised studio spaces in the cathedral square, painting nine, and at the end, fourteen canvases per day as he struggled to translate light into paint. He chose to work in good weather, so that nothing  would obscure the clarity of light on the stone. Ultimately, Monet transcended his task, creating 30 views of Rouen cathedral, which even today convey the wondrous combination of permanence and mutability that Monet sought to capture as he observed the sun’s daily transformation of the church fa├žade. Of the 30 views, Monet chose the best 20 for an exhibition in 1895; the Getty picture was number 13 in that show." (
Context: Keeping in mind that the goal of the Impressionists was to accurately paint light and capture a moment in time within that light, it can be said that this series of work represents what Impressionism is all about.

Claude Monet 1840-1926 Haystacks on a Foggy Morning1891 France Oil on canvas

Claude Monet 1840-1926
 Haystacks on a Foggy Morning1891
France Oil on canvas

Claude Monet 1840-1926
 Haystack at Sunrise Near Giverny 1891
France Oil on canvas
29 1/2 x 37 in Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Form: Series of oil paintings focusing on haystacks. Monet is using short quick brushstrokes of saturated color to capture the richness of the light as it hits the haystacks. Looking closely, observe the way in which he uses complementary colors for the shadowed areas. For example, if the brightest part of the haystack is represented with reds and yellows, the shadowed part will be represented with blues and purples. The two colors play off each other, when two complementary colors are next to each other, they make the color seem much more intense and pure.Iconography: According to the Getty Museum Website.

In the fall of 1890, Impressionist Claude Monet arranged to have the wheatstacks near his home left out over the winter. By the following summer he had painted them at least thirty times, at different times throughout the seasons.  Wheatstacks was Monet's first series and the first  in which he concentrated on a single subject, differentiating pictures only by color, touch, composition, and lighting and weather conditions.  He said, "For me a landscape hardly exists at all as a landscape, because its appearance is constantly changing; but it lives by virtue of its surroundings, the air and the light which vary continually."  After beginning outdoors, Monet reworked each  painting in his studio to create the color harmonies that unify each canvas. The pinks in the sky echo the snow's reflections, and the blues of the wheatstacks' shadows are found in the wintry light shining on the stacks, in the houses' roofs, and in the snowy earth. With raised, broken brushstrokes, Monet captured nuances of light and created a solid, geometric structure that prevents the surface from simply melting into blobs. The wheatstacks are solid forms, and, while the outlying houses are indecipherable close-up, they are clear from a distance."
( Monet is one of the best known artists form the Impressionist era. He was patient about hs work and pursued his goal of capturing light with a single-minded intensity, "I know that to really paint the sea it has to be seen every day at any hour and from the same spot to know its life at this very spot ; that's why I'm repeating the same subjects up to four and even six times." Claude Monet "Je suis dans un pays superbe de sauvagerie, un amoncellement de rocher terrible et une mer invraisemblable de couleurs." Claude Monet 

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